Monday, November 28, 2011

Atlantic Rovers Tour 2011 ( Part 3!)

Yes, even more stories from the Atlantic Rovers tour! After a great day of seven a side soccer and a fun evening party it was time for our next challenge, the International Survivors game! Last year the Atlantic Rovers won the game with a fantastic 7-5 win against the Elgin Marbles with an unbelievable 6 goal haul from yours truly! I know, hard to believe, but it did happen! But could this feat be repeated? Well a full squad of players turned up on match day, hangovers and all, to play the game. The Atlantic Rovers started strongly and were clearly the stronger team storming into a 3-1 lead, including yet another goal by Johnaldo! 7 goals in two games?? But even with this lead the visitors couldn't hold on and eventually the Elgin Marbles select fought back to tie the game. Based on the rules made up on the spot by me and Jodingo!! that meant the Atlantic Rovers retained the trophy! We are unbeaten in two years now and ready for the challenge next year! After the game a few of the Rovers did a tour of a nearby distillery and BOR went loch fishing in a big truck tire..... hhmmm I wonder who had more fun? A great day was rounded off with a bonfire on the local beach and a few more drinks. The next day the bhoys set off back down south after saying their goodbyes to Walter and the Marbles with a promise to be back next year! What was next on the tour? A trip to Celtic park to shop?, a trip to Edinburgh to drink some more beer? and then back to Celtic park to watch Celtic play Udinese in the Europa cup?! All will be revealed in tour report part 16! Joking... No really, I am.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Atlantic Rovers Tour 2011 (Part 2!)

Hope you all had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving! Now the season is over I thought I would get back to telling you all about the Atlantic Rovers tour in Scotland! Part 2 is below;

Last year the Atlantic Rovers finished in a creditable 4th position in the tournament with a squad of only 7 players. This year we were hoping to build on that as we had a strong squad of 9 players! Our first game was against one of the stronger three Elgin Marbles teams and even though we had managed a good draw against them in the previous years tournament there was no repeat as they took the game by the scruff of the neck and caught the Rovers cold. We were a goal down before we knew it and struggling to get in the game. Just as we thought we might get a grip of the game they scored again to send us to defeat and start off our tournament in the worst possible way. Before dwelling on that too much we went into our second game against one of the other Elgin teams and had a much better game. The Rovers scored a couple of great goals to take the pressure off, and although we gave a goal back Tam's organization of the back allowed the team to hold on for victory. Our last match in the section was against our "old" rivals the Edinburgh based Narey's. We had to beat them to advance to the the "Champions league" knockout section of the tournament. It was a very competitive game and the Rovers were by far the best team, which was empathized by a great goal from Tam. With only minutes left in the game and the Rovers heading for the next round a cruel deflected shot found its way into the back of the Rovers net handing the Narey's the point they needed to advance and to send the Rovers into the "losers section". The team was still dealing with this cruel blow as we started the next game and with our heads totally out to lunch we crashed to a 3-0 defeat! We now faced the prospect of finishing last as we got to our last game against another Marbles team. Luckily we got our act together and won the game well with some good goals and great defending. We then watched the Elgin Marbles team deservedly win the final game to become tournament champions. A disappointing tournament for the Rovers but great fun!

We managed to get back to the hotel without crashing and headed out for a great post tournament party where Tam was voted player of the tournament and my bro Brian won top did we finish 7th!! Well we had the big International challenge match on the Sunday and we were the current holders after winning last year... could we keep the trophy? Find out in part 3 coming soon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MATCH REPORT; Madison 3 Hamden 0

On an unseasonably warm and sunny day the Celts closed out their long season with a great win against a feisty Hamden team. Even though they had played out a scoreless game the weekend before, this match was very different with many more chances and opportunities for both teams.
The game started late due to the late arrival of the ref but both teams were not slow off the mark to show that they were ready for business. Hard tackles from both teams showed that more than pride and bragging rights were on the line. Madison Celtic still had a remote chance of snatching the final promotion slot, if Guilford stumbled in their last game and Hamden wanted to show that their bottom of the league status was anomalous. Some early skirmishes at the beginning of the game made the early first half very even but as the 45 wore on Madison started to exert more and more control. Roniildo was doing his usual Captain America performance of running the full length of the pitch to get a shot on goal and then next minute back in defence breaking up an attack. Jodingo!! made an incredible tip of the toe clearance off the line when El Gato was well beaten. Carlos was also back in action after his nose break and was a little off the pace but still threatening when he had a glimpse at goal. Jorge and Tano pushed forward as often as they could but Tano's shots on goal were restricted by the sturdy Hamden defence. As the half eased towards its end it looked like the Celts were in full control and deserving of a goal. Then finally an opportunity came for that go ahead moment. Paulo breaking into the box along the goal line was tripped for a clear penalty. The ever dependable Roniildo stepped up to fire the ball past the despairing dive of the Hamden goalie. On up at the half and probably deserving of more. The second half saw Madison turn the screw on Hamden with more and more attacks on their goal. What little chances came to the Madison box were punched away by El Gato or cleared by Kris, Jodingo!! or La Boca. The Celts domination of the game was complete when the ever effective Safet headed down a great ball to Tano in the box. The little maestro took but a second to control the ball and hit a precision shot right into the right side of the net. After this goal the game got a bit unruly with first Fribeka hacked down in his prime and then Ruggerho karate chopped. David was also in the wars but kept a steady head. Tom A was allowed to play his usual calm defensive game and Ilhan came on to good effect at key points in the game. The coup de grace came with a fantastic lobbed shot by the irrepressible and prodigious Tano scoring Madison's third and his twentieth goal of the season! The whistle sounded to end a great win for the Celts and a great inaugarual season. We ended the game knowing we had caught Guilford for points and goal difference but they had a game to play.
As it turned out Guilford were handed three points on a plate by East Haven when they forfeited their last match. We finished third overall and it was a tough way to lose promotion. We really had our chances throughout the year to get the points we needed but we didn't take them. We can now look forward to next year with confidence and enjoy the long break until the start of the outdoor season in late April. Of course indoor season will start in January!

Man Of The Match; It's a tough one because Tano scored twice and got his 20-th goal of the season in this game, Jodingo!! and Tom A played great at the back, El Gato kept a clean sheet for the second game in a row and Ruggerho had a great second half before he was decimated. But for his consistent running, passing and overall good play the last MOM of the season goes to Roniildo!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

NEXT GAME; Sunday 20th November, Hamden!

The final game of the season has finally arrived! After this weekend Sunday mornings will now be filled with chores and boring family stuff! So let's finish off the season in style with a win. The game is against Hamden ( yes it's them again) and the game will be played at Town Campus with a 9am kick off. As you saw last week they have greatly improved their team but to be honest we are still much better than them. We dominated large sections of the game last Sunday but could not get the ball in the net.

At the time of writing the promotion spot has not yet been decided.

1 Orange SC 28 21 4 3 0 0 89 38 51 0 0 67
2 Guilford Bell 27 16 4 7 0 0 53 29 24 0 0 52
3 Madison Celts 27 13 10 4 0 0 71 50 21 0 0 49
4 Albanian 26 13 5 8 0 0 89 67 22 0 0 44

If Guilford did lose their last game then it could go down to goal difference. But to be honest we should just get out there and enjoy ourselves. We wont get another outdoor game until late April so make the most of this one!

Remember the game is at Town Campus with a 9am kick off!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MATCH REPORT; Hamden 0 Madison 0

A rejuvenated Hamden team made a mockery of their bottom of the league status by holding the Celts to a 0 0 draw. If their was any doubt who would get second spot in the league this year the two points dropped by Madison handed the final promotion spot to Guilford.

A few late call offs meant the Celts started with a slim squad and the surprise return of the famous El Gato between the sticks. The shuffling of the pack just before the game meant the Celts got off to a bit of a rusty start with the home team really taking it to the Celts. After a few close run things, the Celts started to play with more assurance and confidence. Talat was having a good game at the right back position and the midfield was asserting itself in a bit of a dour battle with the Hamden middies. As has been seen in previous games though the Celts could not turn possession of the ball into clear cut chances. Tano, David and Paulo all had chances in the opening twenty minutes or so with no luck. At the other end El Gato was springing to the aid of the defence using his legendary cat like instincts to punch, pat and push balls out of the box. After thirty minutes the game took on the shape of a game that would last the whole match. Plenty of possession by the Celts, aggressive tackles by the opposition and relatively few clear cut chances. The blank first half gave way to a second half of a similar hue. The strong bustling play by David and Roniildo in the midfield was allowing the Celts to get plenty of the ball but the final pass or final attempt on goal just fell short. El Gato gave everyone a bit of a heart attack by taking a time trip to the eighties by picking up a passed back ball in his box! He redeemed himself with a great save when Hamden very smartly took the free kick before the Celts were organized. David was the main menace in the box in the second half getting to almost every ball that was sent in but none of his headers or shots hitting the target. Strong defensive play by Kris and La Boca at the back meant that El Gato became more and more of a spectator as the game progressed. The hoped for goal was not coming and even though the Celts piled on the pressure in the last ten minutes Hamden held out for a well earned draw.

Only one more game left in the season but we already know we will be playing another year in the third division.

Man of the Match; Great performance by Roniildo and David in the back and midfield, and El Gato in goal with David just edging out the Scotsman and the cat.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NEXT GAME; Sunday 13th November, Hamden!

Our inaugural season in the SASL is finally grinding to its end and we round of our long trek with two games against Hamden. The first of these will be this weekend with an away game that starts at 10am.

Hamden have been rock bottom of the league for most of the season but seem to have gone on a late surge of player recruitment that has really helped their form. In recent games they have had narrow defeats to Orange and the Eagles ( both 3-2) but have handily beaten both East Haven ( 4-2 ) and North Branford ( 6-2 )!

Even before Hamden upgraded their roster we have struggled to beat them with our two previous games being narrow 3-2 wins for the Celts.

The bottom line is, if we want to take this season right to the wire... (unless East Haven forfeit their game to Guilford ) then we have to beat the newly refreshed Hamden team.

Let's finish the season in style with two strong victories. This will also ensure that the fast tracking Albanian Eagles don't pip us for 3rd place!

See you Sunday!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

MATCH REPORT; N Branford 1 Madison 5

The Madison Celts got back to winning ways with a comprehensive victory away to North Branford. With only three games left in the Celts season it was important that the full points available were wrapped up safely and, although there was a minor blip at the beginning of the game, that's how it ended up.

A cold Fall day did not prevent the Celts getting off to a brisk start against Branford. Some good early link up play by the ever sharp Tano along with Jorge kept the Branford defenders on their toes. The Madison midfield were controlling the early play with Halil and Roniildo making some strong runs and great tackles. After several incisive Madison attacks it looked like a goal was coming...and it did! A beleaguered Branford defense hoofed the ball up to the half way line catching the Madison defense in a flat line. The lone Branford striker was able to race away from the last defender and run into the box unopposed before dispatching a clinical shot past The Hulk. Although this was clearly against the run of play it took the Celts a bit of time to get back into the flow of the game. With David and Kris subbing on, the team had a bit more solidity and before long the clear possession advantage that was being enjoyed by the visitors was turned into a great goal. A fantastic shot by Roniildo from the edge of the box slammed off the bar but was headed into the net by the predatory Tano for his 17th goal of the season. Things went from good to even better for the Celts when the marauding David was then brought down in the box for a clear penalty. Roniildo stepped up to cooly slam the ball into the net for the go ahead goal. TomA , Kris and La Boca were having great games at the back and when things got past them The Hulk was there to clear up. Just before halftime a breaking ball in the Branford box fell to David who looped the ball into the net for a two goal cushion. The great passing and running from the whole team could have led to more goals in the first half but the main thing was collecting the three points. The second half started with some great chances for the Celts as Tano, Safet and Paulo all had chances to increase the lead. In the end a clear chance fell to Ruggerho who blasted the ball off the last defender for the fourth goal of the game. After this goal the Celts seemed to ease off the gas and Branford came back into the game and only a few desperate last ditch goalmouth scrambles stopped them from scoring. The points were finally put to bed when the irrepressible Tano scored his second of the game and the fifth for the Celts to round off a man of the match performance from the new daddy!

Only two games left in this long long season. The Celts have to beat Hamden twice and hope that Guilford slip up for any chance of promotion but however it ends up it has been a good run that has gone all the way to the end!

Man Of The Match; A few contenders today for MOM, from the defensive masterclass of TomA and Kris. The great midfield play of Roniildo and David and the fantastic running and link play of Jorge. But the man of the match goes to the two goal hero Tano who must be in the form of his life!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NEXT GAME; Sunday 6th November vs North Branford

The season is slowly coming to an end and with the storms that have hit us we are likely to see the season extended to the 20th! We have 3 games left and the first of those is this Sunday away against North Branford. 10 am kick off at Northford park, Northford. Our three games against the Branford outfit so far have resulted in a 2-2 tie, a 4-2 win and a resounding 6-2 win. On the face of it this should be three points for us but we have to earn them. Let's get the Guilford cobwebs out of out faces with a resounding win and set ourselves up for a grandstand finish of two games against Hamden.

A shout out to Carlos and hope he recovers quickly from his broken nose!

Beer boys are whoever turns up with them.....

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